02.01.2023 - Green technology, Startups, Technology

Aerones secures further $38.9 million investment

Latvian robotics startup Aerones has raised a $38.9 million investment, TechCrunch reports. It is the largest investment secured by a Latvian startup in 2022.

Prior to this announcement, Latvian startups had raised a total of €61 million this year, wrote Labs of Latvia.

In April, Aerones raised $9 million in seed capital to develop its robotic services for wind energy operators around the world. The aim of the investment was to support Aerones’ efforts to become the innovation pioneer in the wind energy sector, wrote Labs of Latvia. With the seed capital, the company planned to increase production and expand services to meet the rapidly growing demand.

“We are rapidly scaling up in terms of both robots and field maintenance teams. This funding allows us to continue our rapid growth and prepare for our Series A funding round later this year,” said Dainis Krūze, CEO and co-founder of Aerones, in April.

Future Positive Capital was the lead investor in the April investment round, together with Change Ventures, which has invested in Aerones before. Other investors include Skype founder Jaan Tallinn through his company Metaplanet, Vinted co-founder Mantas Mikuckas, Printify co-founder Jānis Berdigans, Capitalia, Pace Ventures and EcoSummit.

Improved speed and efficiency

Aerones services are automated by using highly specialised hardware and IT solutions to work faster, safer and more efficiently. Using a suite of proprietary robots, Aerones inspects and maintains turbines up to six times faster and up to 40% more cost-effectively than humans by hand.

Aerones’ expansion is driven by the company’s focus on research, development and engineering. The company’s core technology is a patented computerised winch system that controls modular, high-precision robotic arms. Conventional inspection and maintenance is carried out manually by people descending ropes from wind turbines. Aerones’ robots remove the safety risks and can operate in a wider range of weather conditions.

The company has developed an internal inspection robot that scans wind turbine blades and provides digital double-inspection data in unprecedented detail, as well as a cleaning solution that effectively removes dirt and oil from turbine towers and blades.

Graduates of Y Combinator accelerator

The founders of Aerones are Jānis Putrāms, Dainis Krūze and Andris Dambis. The company dates back to 2015, when the team was researching high-performance unmanned aerial vehicle technologies. However, Putrāms considers spring 2018 as the “real” milestone, which is when the well-known Y Combinator accelerator approached Aerones. There, the team established its niche – wind turbines and their servicing. At the time, the plan was to work with drones, however, while collaborating with the first customer, the team concluded that this was not the best approach. Instead, the company started using robotic arms.

The group has previously raised €8.4 million in external capital. Aerones Inc. has raised €2 million in investment from Change Ventures, Sensum and Y Combinator. Aerones Nordic has raised €2.7 million from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s InnoEnergy programme, wrote Labs of Latvia, and €2.2 million from Expansion Capital, reported Labs of Latvia. The startup has also received a €2.5 million grant from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to test and adapt the existing wind turbine blade inspection, maintenance and repair solutions intended for use on dry land for servicing offshore wind turbines, wrote Labs of Latvia.

This year, Aerones received the Baltic Sustainability Innovation Award in two categories – Green Innovation among startups and the Renewable Energy subcategory of Environmental Impact, wrote Labs of Latvia. Last year, Aerones was recognised as the best regional startup in Eastern Europe in the Unicorn Battle competition, wrote Labs of Latvia. It was also ranked among the top 100 in the world’s prestigious Start Up Energy Transition (SET100) awards. The Latvian company was included in the Clean Energy Creators category and was one of 23 startups to demonstrate outstanding achievements in this segment. 543 startups from 89 countries applied for the 2021 SET100 competition.

Author: Anda Asere (labsoflatvia.com). Publicity photo.

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